Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Kyeremeh, has said the government is committed to settling all genuine debts incurred as a result of land acquisitions by government.
Successive governments have incurred judgement debts and also owe individuals and families whose lands have had to be taken over by government for various infrastructural projects, some compensation.
However, many of these debts remain outstanding.
Acting Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Alhaji Suleman Mahama, disclosed details of the debts to the Minister when officials of the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry paid a working visit to the Lands Commission on Wednesday, 5 September 2018.
Mr Mahama said: “A lot of the district assemblies, government agencies and the rest, acquire lands in different parts of the country and when they do, sometimes they do not go through the appropriate procedures for compulsory acquisition, so, we may not know exactly the quantum of lands that have been acquired for us to be able to assess the compensation. In the case of those for which government has acquired compulsorily, we used to pay the compensation in bits but over a period of time, it stopped…”
Mr Asoma-Kyeremeh, however, assured the affected persons and families of government’s commitment to ensuring that all genuine debts are duly cleared.
He said: “We’ll find a way of settling all side debts, if, indeed, such debts are genuine. Some of the debts are judgment debts, some are compensations; that is lands that government acquired of which we’ll need to pay; the acquisition was not by this very government but over the years since Kwame Nkrumah’s time.
“So, such people either they come back for their lands or we pay them and that is why we say we are in debt because government needs such lands for a particular purpose, so, if we are taking the lands, then we have to pay them and that is what they have brought to our table which we are thinking of paying”.